On July 1, 2010, a variety of sweeping changes to Connecticut’s Common Interest Ownership Act will take effect, and associations throughout the state will need to change the way they approach building management. “It’s the biggest change to Connecticut condo law in 25 years,” says attorney Adam J. Cohen, the chairman of community law with Pullman & Comley in Bridgeport.
So pronounced are the changes, in fact, that the law built in a waiting period of almost a year, to give associations, lawyers, and property managers time to get up to speed on the requirements. The law passed in July 2009, but most of its changes were delayed until this July.
CIOA – pronounced “KAI-oh-wah,” like Iowa with a K – began life as a nationally-developed standard that states could adapt for their own use. The Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act was “a model act that was developed nationally to be a guide to states,” explains Lisa J. Anderson, a partner with Bender, Anderson & Barba in Hamden. “Property law is, in this country, very localized to the states,” she says. “There’s wide variety.” The federal template was intended to createa national standard with respect to condo law.
States were not required to adopt CIOA; most did not. But the state of Connecticut put its own version on the books that became effective on January 1, 1984. This caused – and continues to cause – some confusion, as most of the old CIOA law only applied to condo associations formed after that date; even older condos were also subject to an earlier piece of legislation, the Condo Act of 1976.
“You could have two condos right next door to one another,” says Cohen. “One follows one set of laws, the otherfollows another.”